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I did write to Iraqi authorities: Natwar Singh

Source: PTI
August 05, 2006 03:29 IST
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Beleaguered Natwar Singh, indicted in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, admitted on Friday night that he wrote to Iraqi authorities to help Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of his son Jagat. However, heĀ insisted there was nothing wrong about it.

Indicted by the Pathak Authority of misusing his position, the former external affairs minister told CNN-IBN that he had told Justice Pathak that the signatures on the letters were his, but the language was not his.

"Even if I wrote those letters, where is it specified that give them oil contracts, give them vouchers, do this and other things, I have (just) said he is a young man, he is coming to you, please help him," Singh said justifying his letters.

Asked whether Sehgal getting the oil vouchers in the name of Congress party could not be construed as acting as a middleman for him, Singh said that Swiss company Masefield A G had said it had not heard of Natwar Singh.

"Have I signed any contract or have I got any voucher, have I got any receipt? Do I have a foreign bank account? Does my son has a foreign bank account? No," he said.

He rejected a demand for a CBI inquiry, saying it was a FEMA case.

Singh pointed an accusing finger at Finance Minister P Chidambaram for the leakage of the Pathak Committee report and said that he should be asked to explain.

"The Enforcement Directorate is not with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, not with Justice Pathak, but with the finance minister. The prime minister called his bluff (by saying he sent the report in the sealed cover to the finance minister)", he said.

Singh acknowledged that Samajwadi Party and one or two other political parties had made offers to him to join them, but added - "I am not going to leave Congress."

"Do not drag Sonia Gandhi into this," he shot back, when asked whether a 'coterie' in the Congress was acting against him at the behest of the party president.

Singh said there was 'no iota of proof' that he or his son received any money - "That is the crux of the matter."

Singh said he would speak on the report when the matter is debated in the Rajya Sabha and said he would like to 'thank' Justice Pathak for 'exonerating' both him and his son.

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